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The Farming Fast Five

The Farming Fast Five

We ask a farmer five quick questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them.

Today we talk to 2023 Dairy Manager of the year Jack Symes.

1.    What did your journey into farming look like?

I grew up on a farm and past and present generations of family are farming

as well.

My parents inspired me to get into farming, having seen their success over the

Years, they and wanted me to follow suit.

There are great opportunities in the farming industry and is an exciting environment to be in.

You can go about your business your way, there’s no right or wrong method.

My passion is working with livestock and being outdoors so farming is perfect

for that.

From school I always knew I wanted to go farming but went to Lincoln University

first to study a bachelor of commerce in Ag to meet new people and really see

what the primary sector has to offer.

2. Tell us a little bit about your farming operation

I manage a 160ha dairy farm, milking 630 kiwi cross cows located in Dunsandel.

Fully self-contained, we have a 115ha support block.

3. What challenges have you faced in your farming business, and how have you tackled  those challenges?

The two previous starts to the milking season have been wet and cold.

This made for very slow grass growth and was harder on the cows over winter.

We monitored grass growth very closely to make sure round lengths where correct

and that we would not become in a deficit of grass.

More supplement was used to keep the cows fully fed.

More feed was used during winter months to keep the cows fully feed and


New rules and regulations are challenging, but surrounding yourself with the right people to keep up to date with what’s happening and reading articles helps., as well as having a proactive mind set not a reactive mind-set.

4. What has been a major highlight for you in your farming journey?

The community support, working with family and the farm improvements.

We have been developing the family farm, this included new paddock layout, water system and milking shed .

Winning Dairy Farm Manager of the year for 2023

5. What advice would you have for the next generation of farmers?

To put yourself out there and make the most of opportunities that come your

Way is the best way to develop your skills and continue to progress in your

chosen area.

As told to Claire Inkson